Kayak Maker's Relaunch Brings Wave of Catalog Requests

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An improved, interactive Web site for kayak manufacturer Liquidlogic Kayaks has boosted requests for its catalog and increased the company's database.


The year-old company in Hendersonville, NC, has received 367 catalog requests online since relaunching Liquidlogickayaks.com in March. Previously, the manufacturer got a few requests each month for its 8 1/2-inch by 5-inch catalog via telephone and magazine advertising, but it was "definitely not the volume we're sending out now," said Woody Callaway, one of the owners of Liquidlogic.


Catalog-request forms on the site include fields for phone number, mailing address and e-mail address, and also questions on product interest, where visitors paddle, how many kayaks they have owned and which magazines they read.


"These are potential new customers; they weren't getting these requests before," said Marti Grace, chief executive innovator for Nimbus Creative, the marketing and Web design firm in Denver that designed the revamped site.


In addition, 166 customers used the site in the past month to register kayaks under warranty, further helping the company develop its customer database. The list contained only 50 customers previously.


"They were having a tough time before getting people to register their boat," Grace said. "If they can't get them to register their boat, they really don't know who they are. If we can get people to register their boat, we can learn so much about their customer base ... where they live, where they paddle and what magazines they read for advertising purposes."


The plan is to build the catalog and boat registration databases, then let the company's 115 retail dealers in the United States and abroad target customers geographically. Currently, Liquidlogic does not send direct mail to customers, other than catalogs that people have requested. Later, the company plans to send periodic e-mails on new products and other news.


Liquidlogic did no advertising to promote the site relaunch. The company attributes the increase in catalog requests and kayak registrations to word of mouth from kayakers attracted to the interactive features on the relaunched site.


"The excitement we've been able to generate, a lot of it is through word of mouth," Callaway said. "And Nimbus has helped us bring [the site] to life in a fun, non-corporate-feeling fashion."


The fun comes from video and audio for all Liquidlogic's products in action. The previous site had a few video clips that were not used to sell the products.


"It's really important to see someone on the water [using the kayak]," Grace said.


The video clips and photos and videos of professional and amateur kayakers in the photo gallery aim to build a community on the site.


"With paddlers and others involved in outdoor sports, there is a sense of community that you want to establish," she said. "And, people who kayak love to watch video."


Adding interactive features to the Web site is a natural for Liquidlogic's customer base, Callaway said.


"The generation that is really buying the whitewater kayaks is not only computer literate, but thinks nothing about getting all the information they can via the Internet," he said.


Though Liquidlogic does not sell its kayaks online, it sells Liquidlogic hats for $25 each and T-shirts for $22 each.


"The store is getting a fair number of orders, orders they did not have before," Grace said. "If we get enough orders, I think we will move to a more professional shopping cart."


The site also aims to involve dealers more in the business. Already there is a special log-in section for its dealers, nationwide and international, where they can download order forms and other functions. Liquidlogic wants to upgrade the section, allowing dealers to track their orders, get additional product information and other functions.


Liquidlogic did not track visitors to the site before the relaunch. In one month since the mid-March relaunch, however, the site attracted 4,000 unique visitors and 10,000 total visitors who stayed an average of two to four minutes.


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